Drive-By Truckers keep their anger sharp on The New OK

Drive-By Truckers embellish their brilliant legacy on The New OK, their second album of a troubling year

Drive-By Truckers: The New OK ATO
(Image: © ATO)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

They used to make languid, boozy epic albums that lasted for days; now Drive-By Truckers make compact, snub-nosed records where no notes are wasted – and in 2020 they made two of them. 

The New OK is a bookend along with The Unravelling (and, in proper rock tradition, even includes a song called The Unravelling), and shares that album’s anger at the recent political situation on the likes of the title track and Watching The Orange Clouds

But while The Unravelling was informed by despair, on The New OK the anger sounds more focused and fight has returned. There’s even room for a gorgeous Stax Records homage (Sea Island Lonely, with its Otis Redding horn lift) and, most unexpected and welcome, a soundalike cover of the Ramones’ The KKK Took My Baby Away. 

A fantastic rocket of a record, which adds to the renaissance brilliance of 21st-century Truckers.

David Quantick

David Quantick is an English novelist, comedy writer and critic, who has worked as a journalist and screenwriter. A former staff writer for the music magazine NME, his writing credits have included On the HourBlue JamTV Burp and Veep; for the latter of these he won an Emmy in 2015.